Ahh Imbolc, the halfway mark between winter and spring. Depending on where you are, you may feel like you’re closer to one more than the other **sips coffee while watching it snow**. And believe it or not, the groundhog really doesn’t decide if we get another six weeks of winter. From this date we have six weeks until spring whether he sees his shadow or not. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare for the burst of new life that we will see when spring does show it’s budding face.
In fact, celebrating Imbolc is a great way to prepare your body, mind, and soul for the spring! But before we dive into creating your own mini alter (it’s adorable), let’s go through a brief history of what Imbolc is and why it’s important to take at least a few minutes to celebrate it.
The Celebration of Lambs
Now, don’t quote me on calling it the Celebration of Lambs, but Imbolc does have its ties to these adorable babies. In Celtic “imb” means “full bellies”. Imbolc received its name because it would be around this date that our ancestor’s sheep would have their babies. It’s also at this time that we start to see more rain and water returning, both of which are very important to a society that is dependent on it’s animals and produce.
Our ancestors also recognized that the world is starting to ‘wake up’ from it’s winter slumber. Animals are being born, the frost is melting, theres more sun and rain, etc. They saw the importance of mirroring that within themselves as well. This ‘purification’ is of the mind, body, and soul, rather than a form of punishment for perceived wrong doings.
To kick off the celebration, it’s customary to have a bonfire the night before. But if it’s cold where you are like it is here, or you simply don’t have a place to have a bonfire, lighting candles with friends and family is just as ceremonious! On actual Imbolc (which this year, astrologically, is on February 3rd) gather with loved ones, listen to music, dance, talk, share your dreams and hopes for the year with each other, and be present in the importance of this day.
Create your own Mini Imbolc Alter
This is my favorite part of Imbolc; this little mini alter. It’s just so cute and it packs everything into a space that could fit in your hand. What makes this little mini alter so awesome is that if you add in some stuff that you use with your other rituals, you have a complete ‘full sized’ alter.
What you’ll need:
- a clay or glass bowl
- bay leaves
- tea light
Place the salt in the bowl, decorate with your bay leaves (for dispelling negativity), and add your tea light! Think of your intentions and about what Imbolc symbolizes as you do so. And ta-da! You have your very own mini imbolc alter!
If you’re interested in spells to do with it, or how to turn it into the center piece of a bigger alter, check out this post on our sister site, My Minimalist Soul!